In response to Allison Ramirez’ feature article titled, “Our Broken (Values) System” published October 26, 2011.
President Reagan passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which granted amnesty to around 2.8 million illegal immigrants in 1986. This legislation was intended to be a “one time only” deal to give legal residency to illegal immigrants already here in the United States. In addition to the amnesty given, the law was passed to provide increased border security as well as deterrents for employers hiring illegal immigrants.
These provisions failed, however, and what resulted was a quadrupling of illegal immigrants entering the United States. Now, 25 years later, we’re not talking about amnesty for 2.8 million; we’re looking at estimates of 12 to 20 million undocumented individuals residing here. This is MUCH bigger than it was in the 80s.
In the article, “Our Broken (Values) System,” Ms. Ramirez mentions that these immigrants desire to “give their lives for our country,” yet how can this be true when remittances are over $20 billion every year? It seems like these immigrants are still giving their lives, their daily work, to a country other than the United States. They are still identifying themselves with their homeland.
It’s true, we are teaching our children to dream, but how are we to teach our children about consequences when we refuse to enforce laws which we have established? Even more, how are we to teach consequences to our entire population, when we reward those who have broken the law?
Border enforcement is no policy exclusive to the United States; it is a global understanding. Crossing any border in the world without authorization to do so is illegal. Period. Rewarding illegal activity is neither ethically sound nor long term financially beneficial. We shouldn't have to commit crimes to live our life, and any society that promotes criminal activity, for any reason, is doomed for corruption and failure. My parents sacrificed for me and my four siblings, so that we would have a more promising life than they had, but they didn’t do it illegally.
Ms. Ramirez mentions the four values that we fight so hard to maintain, “freedom, equality, family, education.” These principles are being directly compromised by illegal immigration and amnesty in our country. Freedom, the foremost principle that this nation was founded on, is defaulted when our lives become limited by excessive forced taxation and legislation. Equality is a principle that can never be achieved in a society that places priority on immigrants over its own citizens.
As far as having a family, clearly it’s more personally beneficial for an illegal woman to have a child in the United States than it is for a citizen, as it grants permission to stay, food stamps, and Medicaid for her and her child – benefits not offered to all legal citizens. Finally, our children’s education is being affected by the No Child Left Behind Act and now the increased focus on basic English proficiency and similar programs made necessary by their illegal counterparts.
Our “kids learn that their dreams know no bounds,” but I remain confused as to how we are to support our own kids’ dreams when they are being pushed aside for the dreams of the outsiders. Sure, the American dream is one felt across the globe, and sure, it’s a desire for many to obtain, but at what expense to our own citizens’ dreams? To our own kids' dreams, as spoken of in Ms. Ramirez' article?
Here’s an example. My family has called Texas home and paid taxes to the state since its admission into the Union in 1845. My roots and family are right here in Texas. Still, for four years my family paid out-of-state tuition to the state of Texas, because I lived in Washington until I was 19. I’ve worked for the state of Texas since shortly after graduation and was given the wonderful, long-awaited, and hard-earned opportunity to come to the LBJ School on scholarship through my employer.
However, my scholarship funding to continue classes at LBJ may be cut at the end of this semester due to state budget cuts from the 2011 Legislative Session. This means that my time here at LBJ, work spent, and investment into my degree may regrettably fall short of its potential, due simply to a misappropriation in the state budget: the educational funding of illegal immigrants as opposed to legal citizens.
What I comprehend from all of this is that it’s not in the state’s budget to send a legal citizen to school who has contributed more than most to the state of Texas, but it is in the budget to soften the financial burden of those who are lawfully illegitimate, have relatively few ties to this state, and will have no ability to pay the state back upon graduation. Gov. Perry has authorized over $34 million for these individuals, meanwhile law-abiding, capable, hard-working citizens like myself are “pushed aside for the dreams of the outsiders.” That's nothing more than a horrific impropriety for our nation's future.
How are we to teach OUR kids to have abounding dreams when THIS is the reality?
There are over one billion severely impoverished people in the world, and much of Mexico is no exception. It is riddled with crime and controlled by drugs, and that corruption is spilling over its borders. I agree that something must be done for our neighbors to the South, as the United States spends over $5 billion taxpayer dollars a year to deport illegal immigrants (not to mention the costs of gang activity, Medicaid, and education). I also agree that Mexico needs help, but they aren’t going to get the help they need with a U.S. handout.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you give a man a fish, he will eat for one day. If you teach him to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” We need to stop giving away our fishes and teach Mexico to fish. We don’t need to increase the handouts for illegal immigrants by giving them amnesty in a land outside their home. We will eventually run out of handouts. We need to show them how to fix the problems occurring in their home, and we need to help. We cannot continue to push our own legal citizens and permanent residents aside while we open the doors for the law breakers.
To those in favor of the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, opposition may be short-sighted; however, I’ve laid out some of the rationale behind the opposition. The blanket amnesty in 1986 didn’t work the way it was meant to. With the current lack of border security to prevent illegal immigration as well as lack of legal action on employers of illegal immigrants, U.S. constituents have no reason to believe that the outcome of an amnesty today would follow any dissimilar course. The DREAM Act will not promote the American dream for those that rightfully and legally call America home.